TODAY | March 18, 2013
>>> this morning on "today's" health nutrition labels 101.
>> dietician is here to help you understand what to look for on the back of your favorite product. she's the author of "the new you and improved diet." good morning. you'll warm us up first with some questions.
>> i'm nervous about this quiz.
>> don't be nervous. it's confusing. we're all familiar with reading food packages but between the new advertising panel and all the claims it can be confusing. your first question if something says reduced sodium how much less does it have?
>> i'll go for 50%, b.
>> you are correct. told you you would do good. next one. true false. calorie free means no calories?
>> calorie free?
>> it's five calories or less. that's not a big deal but it threads the point it's confusing to read these labels.
>> let's get one label here we'll show you our nutrition label . this comes from macaroni and cheese and what we're looking for is the serving size which a lot of people can be deceived by that.
>> first thing you need to look at is the serving size because the rest of the information on the label will lead back to the serving size . for example we see serving size one cup but serving per container is two. we're in that situation where we picked up a bag of chips or individually packaged muffin and this looks like a serving for me. in the meantime you've eaten three servings.
>> calories per serving and calories from fat.
>> here's where the math comes in. i didn't like math. there's 250 per serving. so, for example, in this package it would 250 times two, because there's two servings in the package. so we got 500 calories. calories from fat is left over when people are concerned about fat. fat has a role in our diets but we need to look where the fat is coming from.
>> and saturated fat . saturated fat comes from animal products can lead to increased risk for cardiovascular disease . research will show or has started to show there's actually even a little bit of a role for saturated fat in our diet. transfats we know we need none of. here we see three but even if you see zero grams on the level you must read the ingredient list. if it says partially hydro hydrogenated there's still transfat in there.
>> cholesterol and sodium take note of that.
>> let's go to total carbohydrates. 31 grams for the one serving. dietary fibers and sugar also listed here and the protein as well.
>> five sugars listed here because they are carbohydrates. fiber we want more of. sugar we want to look to avoid. again you have to go and read that ingredient list. looking at the nutrition facts panel is like buying a house without going inside . you need to see where those sugars come from. if you see anything with oats it's natural sugar.
>> in here will be listed vitamin a, b, c, calcium. many people don't get enough of.
>> let's see now finally to the last label when you put it all together we're talking about the percent daily value . why is this important right here?
>> the percent daily value will tell you the amount of each of these nutrients that you're getting for one serving towards your daily allotment. so below five is low and above 20 is going to be high. so you really need to put this all together. don't forget to read the ingredient list. you need marry the nutrition facts label and the ingredient list to get the full picture of that product.
>> don't forget the serving size . thanks so much.
>>> coming up -- first "today" on nbc.
>>> coming up tomorrow matt is live at the vatican along